"It's reasonable to ask, and I'll look you straight in the eye and give you a definitive answer," MacPhail said. "It depends. Do you look at the first two thirds of last year, which were god-awful? Or do you look at the last third of the year when we had the second-best record in the American League? I think that 57-game stretch is too long of a stretch to be a flash in the pan. I think it's pretty encouraging."
MacPhail said he doesn't believe the economic disparities in baseball are going away, which is why the Orioles have to stick with their philosophy. There is very little interest, from either the owners or the players union, in implementing a salary cap, MacPhail said.
"I've participated in the last two bargaining agreements representing the clubs, and I don't know how a salary cap would work," MacPhail said. "Everyone says what a good thing it would be, but the revenues are so different in our sports. The one thing the [Major League Baseball Players Association] prides itself on is that there is no cap. If you want a cap, OK, but in my opinion that means you're going to have no baseball for at least a year. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking the players will cave."
MacPhail said the Orioles have been spending money generated by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on payroll but emphasized that MASN will never be the equal of YES or NESN, the television networks for the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively.
"We're not going to chase every free agent and have the payroll up around $140 million because the franchise can't sustain that," MacPhail said.
In fact, if there was one team MacPhail feels like the Orioles need to emulate, at least from a management philosophy, it's the Tampa Bay Rays.
"Tampa showed us it can be done," he said. "It's not impossible. And we sure can be doing better than we've been doing."